Agnipath row: Protests across country on June 16, 17; 11 states affected

Protesters blocked roads and damaged public property in the states.

Armed forces and aspiring army officers in several states of the country on June 16 and 17 that is protested against the newly launched Agnipath recruitment scheme.

On June 13, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government announced the Agnipath Scheme.

According to media reports, the aspirants are unhappy with the scheme’s length of service, no pension provisions for those released early, and decreased age limit that now makes many of them ineligible.

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Protesters blocked roads and damaged public properties in the states, including Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.

Agnipath row: Protest in Haryana

June 16: Police in Haryana’s Palwal town fired shots into the air to disperse hundreds of violent protesters out on the streets to demonstrate against the Agnipath scheme for recruitment to defence services, on Thursday. Five police vehicles were torched, several roadways and buses were damaged in stone-pelting and the National Highway 19 was blocked.

June 17: On Friday, the Gurugram district administration imposed Section 144 as a precautionary measure even though no fresh protest was reported here on Friday against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme to recruit soldiers.

Agnipath row: Protest in Rajasthan

June 16:  Scores of defence job aspirants led by the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) staged protests in several parts of Rajasthan on Thursday (16 June) against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme for four-year contractual recruitment in the armed forces.

Hundreds of Army aspirants also blocked the Delhi-Jaipur Expressway in Gurugram’s Bilaspur area in protest against Agnipath yojna, the government’s new scheme for short-term recruitment into the armed forces.

Agnipath row: Protest in Madhya Pradesh

June 16:  On Thursday, hundreds of protesters launched a massive protest which soon turned violent in the Gwalior district of Madhya Pradesh against the Centre’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme. Police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the mob.

June 17: Protests over the Centre’s Agnipath recruitment scheme turned violent in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore on Friday morning after hundreds of protesters gathered on tracks near a railway station in the city and hurled stones, forcing the authorities to either stop or cancel some trains and also prompting the police to lob teargas shells to control the situation, officials said.

Agnipath row: Protest in Bihar

June 16: Protests against the Centre’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme for hiring jawans on a short-term contractual basis continued across Bihar for the second consecutive day, on Thursday, as aspirants preparing for jobs in defence forces disrupted railway and road traffic in Jehanabad, Buxar and Nawada districts.

June 17: The Ballia police, on Friday morning, thwarted attempts of some local youth who wanted to protest on the railway tracks against the ‘Agnipath’ scheme for short-term recruitment in the armed forces.

Angry aspirants set fire to at least 20 bogies of the New Delhi-Bhagalpur Vikramshila Express and New Delhi-Darbhanga Bihar Sampark Kranti Express at Lakhisarai and Samastipur stations and blocked highways in the state.

Agnipath row: Protest in Delhi

June 16: A group of people on Thursday protested against the delay in Railway recruitment exams and the newly launched Agnipath scheme and subsequently stopped a train in the national capital, an official said. Over 34 trains were cancelled and eight more were partially cancelled.

June 17: Several students along with the members of the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and AAP’s Chatr-Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) on Friday staged a protest over the Central government’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme.

Agnipath row: Protest in Telangana

Violent protests broke out at Secunderabad Railway Station on Friday against the Central government’s ‘Agnipath’ scheme for recruitment in the armed forces. The situation on the first three platforms became tense after aspirants set two bogies on fire during the protest. Incidents of stone-pelting were also reported.

One person was killed when the Railway Police started shooting at the protestors. Two policemen were also injured.

Agnipath row: Protest in West Bengal

The wave of agitations against Agnipath, the proposed short-term entry scheme to the armed forces, on Friday reached West Bengal. Till 11 a.m. on Friday, the agitations were restricted to Thakurnagar under Bangaon sub-division and Bhatpara under Barrackpore sub-division, both in North 24 Parganas district.

Agnipath row: Protests in Odisha

Protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme spread to Odisha on Friday as hundreds of aspirants for recruitment in the armed forces blocked the arterial Ring Road in Cuttack and tore down hoardings in the Cantonment area of the silver city.

Many of the protestors claimed to have already cleared physical fitness and medical tests for recruitment in the Army last year and were waiting to write the Common Entrance Examination (CEE).

Agnipath row: Protests in Uttarakhand

The Opposition Congress in Uttarakhand staged a walk-out in the state legislative assembly on Friday after speaker Ritu Khanduri refused to allow a debate over the police lathi charge on the youngsters protesting against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme in Haldwani area of Nainital district earlier in the day.

Agnipath row: Protest in Uttar Pradesh

17 June: Roadways buses were vandalised in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad on Friday as mobs protesting against the ‘Agnipath’ scheme went on a rampage. Young aspirants protesting against the short-term contract scheme in the armed forces, pelted stones and damaged government properties.

Agnipath row: Protest in Punjab

Several videos of protests against the centre’s Agnipath scheme from Punjab have also surfaced on social media, where hundreds of people can be seen protesting against the recruitment.

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